President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has concluded his working visit to Nigeria, will continue with his three-nation visit which has now taken him to Saudi Arabia.
During his visit in Saudi Arabia, Ramaphosa is scheduled to meet with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud in Jeddah in order to boost trade and attract investments.
“The purpose of the state visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is to assess the status of bilateral relations, whilst focusing primarily on strengthening economic linkages between South Africa and Saudi Arabia, particularly in terms of increasing inward investment and diversifying the trade relationship,” the Presidency said.
The state visit will also present an opportunity for South Africa to increase co-operation with Saudi Arabia in light of the country’s new strategy for Africa.
South Africa currently imports approximately 47% of its oil from the Arab country and regards it as a strategic partner in the Middle East.
The country is also a large investor in South Africa, especially in the area of renewable energy. Total trade amounted to just more than R55bn in 2017.
Important trading partner
After the state visit to Saudi Arabia, Ramaphosa will proceed to the United Arab Emirates on Friday to meet Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy commander of the armed forces of the United Arab Emirates.
“The UAE will be an important partner for South Africa in achieving the goal of attracting more investments into the country.
“The president will also use the opportunity to discuss the upcoming investment summit and invite business and government delegations from both countries to the summit,” the Presidency said.
South Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have maintained sound bilateral and commercial relations since formal diplomatic ties were first established in 1994.
The relationship has a strong economic focus, with the UAE being South Africa’s main importing partner within the Gulf region.
According to the Presidency, the UAE is growing as a lucrative export market for South African products and services, while many South African companies are benefitting from opportunities in the UAE in various sectors.
A sharp increase has been witnessed over the last six years in total trade between South Africa and the UAE, with figures escalating from R6bn in 2011 to R38.2bn in 2017, a positive trajectory of the potential for enhancing trade between the two countries.
On Wednesday, Ramaphosa concluded his working visit to Nigeria where he participated in the 2018 annual meeting and the 25th anniversary Celebrations of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).